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Trends in Automation: Sony Invites Users to ‘Try the Future First’ with new Future Lab Program

One trend InduSoft has consistently noticed over the past ten years is the narrowing gap between consumer technology and industrial automation technology. That’s why it’s more important than ever for engineers and HMI/SCADA application developers to understand the kinds of devices that will be entering the market, and how those devices may create demand for interoperability with SCADA/HMI systems. We have already seen smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and other portable devices become integrated with industrial automation. Sony’s new initiative may be a way to understand the demands of future users, and to have the capabilities ready for them when they enter the workforce.

Sony recently launched its Future Lab Program, which promises to make concept prototypes available to developers and users in order to allow them to “co-create future lifestyles.” Much like Google promised with the Google Glass Explorer program, it is an opportunity  to test innovations like new interfaces and new display methods that may impact industrial automation in years to come.

The first device that will be released under the future program is “Concept N”, which is a wearable device that uses bone conduction to transmit audio hands-free without the use of earbuds. This prototype will be introduced this March at the annual South by SouthWest (SXSW) event in Austin, Texas.

While not every new innovation in recent years has taken off, InduSoft anticipates seeing future demand in the Augmented Reality space, and in gesture-driven interfaces. It will be interesting to learn if technology like Sony’s Future Labs has a place in the industrial sphere, but it’s easy to see how a hands-free device that can relay alarms and offer process diagnostics could be useful for machine operators and plant managers.

For more on how InduSoft Web Studio users have integrated consumer technology into automation systems, you can read some of our many case studies:

“iPad HMI” Makes Car Wash Automation Mobile

Real-time Gas Analysis in the Cloud

Digital Signage for the Automotive Industry

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